Improved Access to Career Guidance Needed for Young People

Career Guidance Needed for Young PeopleAs an advisory council to the government, the National Careers Council is urging for action to be taken to improve the careers advice offered to young people.

Part of their report outlines the huge gap existing between business demands, the education system, and the government. The three areas need aligned to improve the job prospects of today’s youth.

The way career guidance currently works, doesn’t include the service as part of the education curriculum. With budget cuts to schools nationwide, the careers advice is becoming less of a priority within schools.

Careers advisors are experiencing cuts to their hours, and jobs becoming part time. The breakdown from the budget cuts are beginning to take an impact on young people’s job prospects.

After leaving school, employers are finding that they just don’t have the knowledge of the industry, and therefore lacking the right attitude for the careers they get started in. It reduces the effectiveness of a workforce, by having the wrong people in the wrong job.

It’s also a vital important life skill for young people to be equipped with the job market knowledge. It ensures they make an educated choice to the career they’re suited to, and not just take on the first job that comes along, with the hopes that it will last.

It’s something that the cabinet have tried to address by launching the “National Careers Service website,” just last year.

The launch of that service though has one fatal flaw in the service delivery.

It’s a telephone advisory service, email advice, or live web chat. There is no access to face-face careers advice for young people. That service is only available to adults.

The National Careers Council is advising government to begin offering careers advice in schools from the age of 12 to every child.

Statistics show that around 4 million youngsters are out of work, who could be in full-time employment, training or apprenticeships.

Of those in the past year, only 34’000 people picked up the phone to find out about what career path they’d be suitable to.

The problem with a telephone service is that young people are not going to be uncomfortable to pick up the phone and talk to a complete stranger about what to do with their lives. It can be intimidating, and that’s why it’s being recommended that more face-to-face careers guidance is offered and accessible to all young adults.

It provides a personal service to discuss things in full details to ensure the best advice is provided and understood.

The culture difference

The figures of only 34’000 give an overview of the people contacting the careers guidance service. Young people from working family backgrounds are more than likely to want to explore their career options.

Another culture exists too though, and that has an estimate of a million youngsters who come from non-working households. Young people no longer in education, any training, or employment. They don’t have access to any type of career information, as their families are unemployed, living on state benefits, and unable to assist with providing knowledge to them.

That’s where there needs to be a culture change, where quality information can be accessed by every young adult, and not, as it’s described in the report as a “well-kept secret.”

That needs to be changed as soon as possible.

Challenging times lay ahead

With budget cuts affecting schools nationwide, careers guidance is left out as a lower priority for education. It’s described as a disservice to the youngsters leaving education without a clue about what career would be right be right for them.

The National Careers Service is the only initiative in place, besides seeking independent advice. Even at that, not even the information is available to some youths of where they can find careers advice.

The skills minister only comments on the report, stating that he will work with the National Careers Council, taking on board their recommendations to equip the work force of tomorrow with the career guidance and industry knowledge. The information young adults need, to find the best career suited to them.

The guidance needs to address three areas:

1.     Inspire young people to get involved early and prepare for work

2.     Motivate them to learn what’s required in whatever career they choose to go into

3.     Give professional advice on everything the job will entail, helping students make an educated decision to the career path they choose.

Only time will tell if the essential careers guidance, recommended by the National Careers Council, will be taken on board and implemented.